Assessing U.S. Strategy in the Israeli-Palestinian Talks – Robert Satloff (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
The second Obama administration has adopted a profoundly different strategy on the peace process than it did when the president came to office in 2009. Today, the peace process is not the top priority, the president is not personally engaged, and settlements are not the focus of diplomacy.
Secretary of State Kerry likes to entice Israelis with the idea that a deal with the Palestinians will trigger the Arab Peace Initiative’s promise of recognition from the wider Arab and Muslim worlds.
In fact, a close reading of that initiative shows that Israel has to make peace on both the Palestinian and Syrian fronts before any commitment to Arab and Muslim recognition applies. Obviously, the chances for a Golan deal with the current Syrian government or any conceivable successor are close to zero.
Current U.S. policy on the peace process is missing four critical items:
-A rigorous effort to build a Palestinian constituency that will support tough decisions about peacemaking;
-An appreciation of the opportunities that flow from Hamas’ current vulnerability;
-High-level investment in bottom-up efforts to match the current top-down approach;
-Public airing of costs to the Palestinians should their leaders reject the U.S. framework.
The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute.